One of the drawbacks for many people wanting to play golf is the amount of time it takes to play 18 holes. Most golf courses try to keep a four-hour pace to play the entire round. On busy days this can take 4½ to 5 hours. If you include arriving early to warm up and staying after to have a snack or a beverage, this can be a six-hour experience. I personally enjoy the time on the golf course and am rarely in a hurry to get off the course. If you are not like me in that regard, let me suggest some ways to play more and enjoy it more.
As a PGA Member for almost 20 years now I have spent a career growing the game. The game does not only consist of 18-hole rounds. If you watch golf on TV (which can be very informative and educational) then you have probably seen our advertisements promoting Play 9. Playing 9 holes will only take you a couple of hours and is a lot of fun. Most golf courses now have a 9-hole rate that is about half of the full green fee. Several courses will have 9-hole tee times in the morning that will let you play the back 9, which you may not get to play later in the day. Find some friends and start trying out 9-hole rounds if time, money, energy or focus is an issue for you playing golf.
Another fun thing to do is to play a course on the practice range. I do this with a lot of my golf students. Set your entire bag near you and get ready to use your imagination. I start by stretching out and warming up with some soft swing 8 irons. Then when I’m warmed up I start with the Big Dog (driver) and imagine I’m on the first tee of whatever course I want to play. I will choose a fairway on the range and rip the driver. Next, I set the driver back in the bag and take out whatever club I think I need to approach the green, choosing another target of that length. If I hit it well, I’ll assume that I am on the green and move on to the next hole. If my approach shot wasn’t great I will pitch to a target on the green. This is great practice as I go through my preshot routine for every shot. It takes less than 30 minutes to play 18 holes on the range. Try this the next time you’re at the practice range. It will improve your game when you do have the time to play the golf course.
Play 9 and play golf on the practice range to find yourself playing more and enjoying more!
Matt Stottern is the PGA Director of Instruction at the Peninsula State Park Golf Course. He is also the Director of the John Jacobs Golf School at the same location. He has more than 20 years teaching golf and teaches golfers of all ages and abilities. He spends the winter months teaching golf schools and private lessons in Arizona. He can be contacted at 480.620.5395 or [email protected]